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Low-Carbohydrate Diets Harm Athletic Performance

A study of elite race walkers shows that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet will slow their race times and training. Your muscles burn primarily fat and carbohydrates for energy. You have enough fat stored in your body to exercise for many days. However, you can store only 1600-2000 calories worth of sugar (carbohydrate) in your muscles and liver, and will start to run out of your meager supply of sugar after 70 minutes of intense exercise.

The Placebo Effect and Supplements

Fifty-two percent of North Americans spend $41 billion a year on over-the-counter food supplements. Athletes and exercisers spend more than 14 percent of the $41 billion, or $5.67 billion, for supplements that are supposed to make them faster or stronger.

Avoiding Overtraining

Exercising too much can affect your brain as well as your muscles. Athletes and dedicated exercisers often suffer from an overtraining syndrome in which their performance drops, their muscles feel sore and they are tired all the time.

Mild Dehydration Does Not Impair Exercise

There is no data anywhere to show that mild dehydration affects health or athletic performance. Fit humans can tolerate significant fluid loss before their performance suffers, and most cases of muscle cramps are not caused by dehydration or salt loss.

How to Become Strong

Would you like to become stronger? Pick six to ten weight-machine exercises and do them in three sessions a week. In each exercise, try to lift the heaviest weight that you can lift comfortably ten times in a row without hurting yourself.

How to Walk Faster

To become fit you need to exercise vigorously enough to increase your heart rate by at least 20 beats a minute. Walking slowly doesn't make you fit.

Helmets Save Lives

A study from Imperial College in London shows that increased use of helmets by bicycle riders has markedly reduced head injuries (1). Do you know why woodpeckers don't damage their brains when they peck on wood? Their skulls fit so tightly that they don't allow the brain to move inside. Human skulls are enclosed...

What to Eat Before, During and After a Bicycle Ride

Healthy and fit people usually don't need to eat during a ride when they cycle at a casual pace for less than two hours. However, you can prolong your endurance for a hard ride by taking a source of sugar when you ride very hard for more than an hour, and a source of salt when you ride for more than three hours.

Sleep to Recover from Hard Exercise

Sleeping can help to prevent exercise injuries. Healthy U.S. soldiers in training are less likely to suffer exercise-related injuries such as fractures, sprains and muscle strains when they sleep at least eight hours at night.

Overnight Fasting to Increase Speed and Endurance

A new study from France shows that night-time fasting after intense workouts on alternate days helps athletes exercise longer and faster. The test group ate a low-carbohydrate dinner after their intense afternoon workout and then fasted for 13 hours before their morning recovery workout, then ate larger amounts of carbohydrates after their recovery workouts. The control group ate their meals as they wished, with no fasting requirement.

Belly Cramps During Exercise

The most common cause of belly cramps during exercise is having a full colon. The best way to prevent exercise-induced belly cramps is to completely empty your colon before you start to exercise. Belly cramps are rarely caused by having food in your stomach. To meet their energy needs, bicycle racers have to eat...

Exercise Improves Gut Bacteria

Many studies show that exercise helps to prevent heart attacks, and it may do so by changing the bacteria in your colon. A recent study from Finland shows that exercising for just six weeks can increase healthful anti-inflammatory bacteria in your colon.

Stress Fractures – Prevention and Treatment

If you are an exerciser and develop a sharp pain on a bone that hurts when you press directly on that spot and does not hurt to touch an inch away, you probably have a stress fracture. Stress fractures are very common injuries, particularly in runners.

Should You Breathe Through Your Nose?

People who exercise with their mouths closed aren't working very hard. You can't get enough air through your nose to meet your needs for oxygen when you exercise vigorously. The cross sectional area of the openings in your nose is less than one tenth the opening in the back of your mouth.

Sit Ups for Belly Strength

Sit ups strengthen your belly muscles, provided that you know how to do them. Lie on your back with your knees bent with your soles on the floor. Place your hands on your chest and slowly raise your head off the ground. Then, slowly raise your shoulders off the ground to a height...

Mamo Wolde, Olympian

Mamo Wolde died recently at age 71. At 36, He won the 1968 Olympic marathon and the 10,000-meter silver medal in Mexico City. He spend the last part of his life in prison. He was buried with a guard of honor of some of the greatest distance runners who ever lived. In 1960, his...

Intervals for Everyone

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveyed more than 4,000 fitness professionals and found that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the most popular trend in fitness for 2018. All healthy people can benefit from some form of interval training. They can pick up the pace for a few seconds while walking, running, cycling, swimming, skiing or skating, and then slow down when they feel the least discomfort.

Should You Carry Weights during Exercise?

The only advantage to exercising while carrying weights is that you can get more exercise while moving slowly. To strengthen your heart, you have to exercise vigorously enough to increase your heart rate at least 20 beats a minute above resting.

How to Pedal a Bicycle

You should pedal with the ball of your foot, not your arch. The ankle is the fulcrum for the force you generate with your feet. The ball of your foot is further away from the ankle than your arch so you generate far more force with the ball of your foot. As you straighten your...

Exercise Every Day or Every Other Day?

The old guideline recommending 30 minutes of exercise three times a week just isn't enough, according to the latest research. Athletes know that they need to work out every day, and all people who just want to stay healthy can benefit from the same type of exercise program.

Good News for Male Cyclists

Cycling is not associated with increased risk for impotence or urinary symptoms. The largest and best study on the subject to date shows that serious cyclists are no more likely to suffer impotence or urinary problems than swimmers or runners.

Some Athletes will Always Cheat to Win

Taking drugs that can harm you gives athletes a major unfair advantage over other athletes who do not take drugs. Many athletes at the highest level of sports are taking drugs that can harm them and this practice is extremely unlikely to diminish in the future.

Should You Cool Down after Exercise?

Cooling down means that after vigorous exercise, you move far more slowly for several minutes before you stop exercising for that session. The only known benefit of "cooling down" is to keep you from feeling dizzy or passing out after very vigorous exercise.

Blisters

If you feel discomfort or pain in the skin of your feet while you are exercising, stop exercising immediately and correct the problem. Continuously rubbing your skin can cause very painful blisters that can break and leave you with open painful areas for many weeks.

Slow Lifting

If you want to become very strong, you have to lift weights heavy enough to make your muscles burn. It doesn't make any difference whether you move the weights slowly or rapidly. Just exercise intensely enough so your muscles feel sore the next day.

Lifestyle Can Override Genes

Studies in the new field of Epigenetics are showing that lifestyle factors can change the way your body responds to your genes. In one of these studies, researchers were delighted to find a set of identical twins with vastly different lifestyles. They found that a lifetime of exercise is likely to give you the body characteristics of a healthy athlete, while an inactive lifestyle can give you body characteristics associated with increased risk for many diseases.

Exercise Treats Insulin Resistance

Up to 70 percent of North Americans adults will develop diabetes or pre-diabetes, usually from insulin resistance caused by excess fat in the liver and muscles. Exercise helps to empty fat from the liver and muscles, so exercise helps to prevent and treat diabetes.

Exercise Preserves Brain Function

People who exercise into later life are smarter than those who do not exercise. To prove that exercise preserves brain function, studies must show that the loss of brain function with aging is not just genetic. Identical twins have exactly the same genes, so a study on twins can yield stronger results to show which environmental factors help to prevent loss of brain function.

Eat to Compete

What you eat before and during a major competition can affect your performance enough to give you an edge over your peers. The days of "carbohydrate loading" are gone, but now athletes are being lured to try the LCHF fad -- a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet.

How Exercise Prolongs Your Life

Several recent studies show that exercise helps to prolong your life by strengthening heart muscle, increasing the ability of the heart to pump increased amounts of oxygen through the body, reducing belly fat, and increasing the diversity of bacteria in your colon.